The Somerset Health Informatics Service has developed an electronic register to help cancer patients across the country receive treatment more quickly.

The register allows clinicians to access up-to-date patient information when they need it, anywhere within a hospital setting.

Ruth King, business services manager for Somerset HIS, a shared service hosted by Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, told E-Health Insider: “The work on the register started around nine years ago, following the publication of the NHS Cancer Plan by the government.

“We worked with local clinicians and the local cancer network to develop a product that would help clinicians in the diagnosis and management of patients.”

The product started with one tumour site and has been expanded to cover all twelve tumour sites, covering all cancers.

It has now been implemented by 56 trusts across the country, with a further 17 looking to introduce it.

“We’ve also had worldwide interest. We’ve been doing video conferencing with the Ministry of Health in New Zealand, who have expressed a keen interest in deploying the register across the whole of New Zealand,” King said.

The product allows hospitals to track a patient through their whole cancer journey, from GP referral through to treatments and follow-up, with real-time data capture.

King added: “It’s really an electronic patient record for cancer patients. The benefits are that patient care can be tracked and treatment is very prompt as a result of improved communication and reduced duplication.”

Neil Stevens, director of Somerset Health Informatics Service, said: “We all know that timing and information is crucial in any health intervention, and with a serious condition like cancer it is even more important.

"This register is a very simple idea, but makes a significant different to trusts managing cancer services. I am very proud that a product developed in Somerset is making such a difference to patients across the country and beyond.”

The informatics team are now developing two similar products for patients who have suffered strokes or have diabetes.